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Sand River Camp
Sand River Camp
Sand River Camp
Sand River Camp
Sand River Camp
Sand River Camp
Sand River Camp
Sand River Camp
Sand River Camp
Sand River Camp

Sand River Camp: Our full report

Sand River Camp is a comfortable tented camp located on the banks of the Sand River.

It is located in the quieter south-eastern corner of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, very close to the Tanzanian border, and is therefore one of the first camps in the Mara Reserve to experience the great wildebeest migration.

Sand River Camp is the sister camp of Elephant Pepper Camp in the Mara North Conservancy, Tortilis Camp in Amboseli and Elsas Kopje in Meru National Park. In 2019 it underwent a total refurbishment and is now a mixture of modern and colonial safari style, giving the air of a 1920’s safari camp but upgraded to the 21st century.

On arrival, guests are given a friendly welcome at the reception area which also has a small curio shop. Gravel and paving leads to the tented lounge, which has comfy sofas and leather armchairs, arranged to create different seating areas to relax and while away the time between safari activities. Oriental rugs are scattered on the dark wood floors and there are bookcases with books and games to keep you entertained and a small bar in the corner. Outside, there are tables and chairs under the trees, and stairs leading down to the river. To the side of the lounge, the dining tent has individual tables – both inside and outside, depending on the weather.

Sand River has 16 guest tents including one family tent. All of these spread out through the bush, along the north bank of the Sand River, and are quite far apart from each other. The camp has been divided into two parts – seven tents on one side of the main area and nine tents on the other. There is a second main area at the eastern end of the camp, which means the camp can operate as two smaller camps when busy, each with their own lounge and dining area. To the side of the main area of the 'western wing' there is a good sized swimming pool offering impressive views over the river. There are few comfy sun loungers and it is a very pleasant location to relax in the heat of the day. The only downside is that it is a relatively long walk to the pool if you are staying in a tent at the end of the 'eastern wing'. In the future the camp hopes to build a second swimming pool.

Each spacious tent is raised from the ground on a low wooden platform and has a separate lounge with a sofa – some which can convert into a sofa bed, armchair and antique writing desk. The bedroom is through a canvas flap, which can be completely opened up during the day, and has a large antique wooden bed surrounded by a mosquito net. The en-suite bathroom has twin basins, a freestanding copper bath and a toilet in a separate cubicle. A glass door leads to an outdoor shower and all toiletries are provided. To the front of the tent, on the deck, are some comfortable lounge chairs where you can relax and enjoy views of the river.

The family tent is similar in décor and style and has two separate bedrooms with a central lounge area in the middle.

As the camp is within the Maasai Mara National Reserve, the activities at Sand River are predominantly safari drives in comfortable 4WD Toyota Land Cruisers. You can opt to head out for a full day with a picnic lunch or do separate morning and afternoon drives. All drives are led by experienced local Maasai guides who know the Mara ecosystem very well. It’s also possible to visit a local village and school from here.

The game viewing is good in this area and it is well known for its large concentration of big cats. During the migration, wildebeest herds often stream across the shallow Sand River from the Serengeti across the border in Tanzania and straight past the camp itself, which can be quite impressive. Bear in mind, though, that these movements are not migration river crossings in the usual meaning of wildebeest swimming across the Mara River: the Sand River is mostly shallow and easily forded by the herds.

Our view

We feel that Sand River is a very comfortable well-run camp and it’s in a great spot to witness the wildebeest migration during the months of July to September. Although this area will get busy in peak season, we still expect it to be quieter than other parts of the National Reserve.

Jessica Plumb

Jessica Plumb

Kenya expert


Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Ideal length of stay
3 or 4 nights
There are daily flights from Nairobi to Keekorok Airstrip and it’s a further 45-minute drive to the camp
Accessible by

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities
Food quality
On our last stay at Sand River in 2021, we found the food to be excellent. Very imaginative and well presented.
Dining style
Individual Tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
Room service of meals is possible if you ask in advance.
Drinks included
Beer, soft drinks, house wines and local spirits are included. Champagne, premium wines and spirits are at additional cost.
Filtered drinking water is provided in all the tents


Attitude towards children
Children of all ages are welcome at Sand River Camp
Property’s age restrictions
There is no age restriction
Special activities & services
Books are provided for painting and drawing, and board games are available. The staff often invite children to play football in the riverbed when dry.
Cots and highchairs are provided
Generally recommended for children
Due to the camp being unfenced, and in a big game area, we recommend it for older children.
Parents should note that this camp is not fenced, and big game often wanders through camp. Children must always be under adult supervision.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Sand River Camp

Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Sand River Camp have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.


100% success


100% success


100% success


100% success


100% success


100% success

Spotted Hyena

100% success


100% success


67% success


67% success


33% success

Wild dog

33% success


0% success

Black Rhino

0% success


0% success

Striped Hyena

0% success


Power supply notes
Solar is only provided for hot water. It is possible to charge batteries in the tents.
WiFi is available throughout the camp, however there is poor cellphone signal in the area.
Water supply
Water supply notes
Filtered drinking water is provided in the tents.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Medical care
There is a clinical officer in the camp and when we visited in 2019 the staff were receiving first aid training. For more serious cases the nearest hospital is in Sekenani at the reserve main gate.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
Resident askaris (guards) are on duty day and night. Guests must be escorted from their rooms after dark.
Fire safety
Each tent has a fire extinguisher


  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Hot air ballooning

    Hot air ballooning


Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
Laundry is included in the rates. It is machine-washed.
There is a digital safe in each tent
Accepted payment on location
Visa, Mastercard and Amex are accepted with no additional cost. US dollars, euros, Pounds sterling and Kenya shillings cash accepted.

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